We live in a hyperconnected world. So much so, that it has become too easy to overlook the remarkable technology that surrounds us, and which helps us complete even the most mundane of tasks. Case in point, the growth of the internet.

We’ve grown so accustomed to the internet’s omnipresence and its ability to effortlessly connect us to each other and provide us with so much crucial information, that most of us take it for granted.

The near-seamless digital landscape of today contrasts starkly with the comparatively low-tech 80s. As such, reminiscing about the 80s, as we so often do together here on this site, a curious question arises:

Was There Internet In The 80s?

The internet as we know it today did not exist in the 80s. However, the foundations for what would eventually become the Internet were already being laid during that time.

In fact, the early 80s saw the emergence of prototype frameworks that focused on communication and interconnectedness, thus, setting the stage for the development of the modern internet.

Unraveling and exploring the roots of our digital age is a fascinating task. So join me below, and let us delve into the captivating world of early computer networks, emerging technologies, and the humble beginnings of the world wide web.

Together, we’ll uncover the origins and evolution of interconnectedness during the most transformative of decades with this brief history of the internet.

The internet was different in the 80s

A Look Back At The Earliest Of Interconnected Networks

The 80s was a remarkable decade when it comes to both cultural and technological advancements. For example, the 80s saw the rise of timeless musical genres, iconic movies, and the birth of the personal computer. However, the internet was very far from what we know today.

While the internet of today did not exist in the 1980s, the foundations for its creation were most definitely being laid. You see, the 80s saw the development of the exciting field of computer networking.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, most commonly known as ARPANET, had been around since the 60s, but it was limited to research institutions and defense contractors in bed with the U.S. Department of Defense. But the early 80s saw the first Local Area Networks start to gain popularity.

These early networks allowed computers within a limited geographical area, such as inside an office building or on a university campus, to connect with each other and enable the sharing of resources and information.

Ethernet, one of the most popular and widely used LAN protocols, became the de facto standard for computer networking during the 1980s. However, while LANs vastly improved communication and resource sharing on a local scale, connection on a global scale was still a ways away.

Shortly after the development of LANs, a new technology called the Bulletin Board System, or BBS for short, gained popularity as it allowed connected users to connect to one another using a dial-up modem machine, and access a variety of message boards, download files, and even play some prototypical early text-based computer games.

In a way, BBS acted as a sort of frame of reference for the eventual development of online communities. This was perhaps the first glimpse at the full-blown internet that we all enjoy today.

The Birth Of The Internet

80s computer scientists figured out several foundational internet protocols and gave birth to the internet. For example, TCP/IP, which had been invented in the 70s, emerged as the standard protocol suite for network data transmission, thus enabling computers to communicate with each other outside of the limitations imposed by LANS

The Domain Name System, or DNS for short, a crucial aspect of the modern internet infrastructure, was established sometime in the mid-80s, providing a way to translate numerical IP addresses into a human-readable format. Without this development, the internet would not have grown into what we have today, and it would be significantly less user-friendly, far less accessible, and depressingly less dynamic.

Old computers connected to a local network

The Birth of the World Wide Web

The World Wide Web as we know it became a thing in the internet service provider era of the mid-1990s. Its creation is accredited to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who among many things implemented the very first web server and web browser.

The World Wide Web emerged as the way to share information over the internet using a user-friendly interface to allow for easy navigation of and access to information. Thus paving the way for the Internet of today.

From Early Network Frameworks to Modern Internet Marvel

The internet as we know it today did not exist in the 1980s. However, the backbone for the online networks that continue to shape our world and reality, was laid down in the 80s.

Networks like ARPANET and LANs, along with the emergence of crucial techs such as BBS and the early internet protocols, provided a glimpse into the future potential of a fully connected world. 

Everyone remembers the birth of the world wide web in the 90s, as it was a turning point for the modern Internet’s evolution, however, the 80s were a crucial decade that set the stage for the interconnected world we live in today.